Advice For The Class of 2018

Advice For The Class of 2018

Get ready: this year is going to be a good one.
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Congrats! You made it! You're a senior! Pretty soon, you'll be where I am, packing up your room and heading off to the next chapter of your life. But hold on, slow down a bit. You've still got some time left here in high school, and senior year can be the most exciting or stressful time, depending on what you make of it.

Most probably, you're thinking of heading off to college next summer. Good choice, because so far, college is pretty great. Applications have been out for about a month now. If you're stressing, DON'T! You still have plenty of time. Make sure to do your research carefully, but don't worry about picking your dream school just yet. Work hard on your applications; remember, that stack of paper is the only thing colleges will get to know about you, so make sure all of it counts.

But, don’t stress yourself out unnecessarily either. Just because that stack of papers and list of numbers is all colleges see doesn’t mean that defines you. It’s incredibly important to remember that! You are a lot more than that, my friend. Don’t lose your mental health over something as silly and trivial as this. One of the biggest lessons I learned while applying for college is that it really does not matter where you go, it matters what you do once you get there. Aim for the highest and the best, but don’t be disappointed if you missed. You’re still going to great, great, great things. Take it from someone who was denied from her dream college, the University of Chicago, but who's still doing fine for herself wherever she ended up. There’s still plenty of opportunities. Oh and, make sure you don’t procrastinate. You have plenty of time, of course, but don’t wait for the last moment either. Do a little bit each day, or a little bit each weekend. This way, it’s much less overwhelming and leaves lots of room for continued mental functioning.

Once you’ve submitted your applications, reeelllllaaaaaxxxx. Relax. It’s over, you can’t change anything and nothing’s gonna happen when you’re fretting over it. You did it! You applied! Celebrate! And then, take a seat, preferably by the window, and get ready for the best year of high school. I’m not exaggerating when I say this. Senior year is by far the best year. By now, you know the lay of the land, you know the teachers, you know the people, you know what’s happening, so you can just enjoy the moment. Enjoy your last high school dances, go out with your friends, explore your hometown. Make time for old friends; you'll regret it when they leave and you didn't get to say goodbye. Have fun, go to parties, be excited for graduation, do those things that you’ve always wanted to do while in high school, because this is your last chance to do them. Don’t leave high school with regrets. But also, don’t forget to keep studying hard, stay on top of your grades—colleges really do look at all of your senior year grades.

On your last few days, remember to pause a bit to be thankful (even though all you want is to get OUT OF SCHOOL). This school is where you came from, where you learned, where you made friends, where you’ve spent so much of your life. Even if you hated it, it’s important. Say goodbye to your favorite places, favorite teachers. (Read this article on What They Didn't Tell You About Graduating and share it with your friends).

Senior year is going to be great. Just believe that it will be, and do what’ll make it great for you.

Cover Image Credit: Avondale High School

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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3 Things i learned at pride in NYC

The people, the flags, and the glitter are even more magical in person.

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On Sunday, June 24th, my girlfriend, my best friend and I, all hopped on a train to the World Trade Center in New York City. After a short subway ride, we arrived at 16th Street, where the parade festivities began. Dressed in our decked out rainbow attire, we entered a vibrant crowd of flag wielding, self-loving having, beautiful people. Pride is something the LGBTQIA+ community knows how to celebrate well. Lesbihonest, I think its safe to say that the LGBTQ+ community essentially created loving yourself, along with embracing those around you, whether you know them or not. While at Pride, I learned a few things about myself, about how to love others, and what it means to be apart of a community.

1. Love thy neighbor

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Because pride is such an important event to the LGBTQIA+ community, the number of people that attend each year is increasing by the thousands. There were an expected 48,000 people this year and when you're amerced in such a large crowd keeping your cool is super important. I learned that in most cases, giving love will result in receiving it, especially in 84-degree weather. So when I was making my way through energetic crowds, I used my p's and q's and was met with the same energy from strangers.

2. At pride, the dress code is no dress code

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If you're in the mood to wear your birthday suit, glitter, or witty t-shirt and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community as a member or as an ally, pride is the place to be! The extravagant outfits and expression of self-pride through clothes and even lack of clothes made me feel extremely comfortable in my own outfit. I think we all have had our share of being uncomfortable in our skin or clothes, but being around thousands of people dressed in whatever made them most comfortable that day was a beautiful experience.

3. Pride is not solely about the LGBTIA+ community

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Heritage of Pride, the nonprofit organization that organizes New York City's LGBT pride events each year, strives to work towards creating a future that consists of equal rights for all under the law. The march is an annual civil rights demonstration that brings awareness to the fight against aids, the Black Lives Matter movement and memorializes those who have lost their lives to illness, violence and neglect. This year over 450 different organizations participated in the march and about 110 floats were shown, each float bringing awareness to different organizations.

As an Afro-Latina, lesbian, I felt very represented and extremely grateful to participate in a civil rights event such as pride. The opportunity to educate myself and even feel more comfortable in my own skin, and enjoy myself with the people I love most, is something I will truly cherish. Hopefully, my experiences and knowledge will expand next year at the 2019 NYC pride!

Cover Image Credit:

Em Goss

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